I was 14 at the time and wanted to bring mail into the house that was addressed to me. So when I ran across a 4-H list of places I could write for free stuff, I wrote.
I got a cardboard chart illustrating how to tie 10 different knots. I got a full-color brochure explaining why Angus were the better breed and another brochure touting Herefords over Angus. But the key piece to my story was the free postcard with a close-up shot of a goat with a big green ear tag.. Yeah, compliments of the ear tag company.
At about this same time, my mail included a chain letter. This one promised the chance to get fun postcards from all across the company.
All I had to do was send a postcard to the first name on the list, add my name to the bottom, and send the letter out to several friends. I did the calculations. By the time my name got to the top of the list, I had a chance of 18 postcards.
Why not give it a try once?
After all, I had a free postcard.
So I mailed the ear-tagged goat to the top name on the list, a girl who lived somewhere in Oregon.
And I sent off my chain letters.
I never got a postcard. Nada. None.
I never did another chain letter. And I’ll bet the poor girl who got the smiling ear-tagged goat didn’t either.